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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

COVID-19 causes SIFF 2020 to pull the plug

And the bad news just keeps coming. Now comes word that the Seattle International Film Festival is canceling its 2020 event.

SIFF, which would have been celebrating its 46th anniversary, was scheduled to run from May 14 to June 7. But because of concerns about COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, festival organizers decided to pull the plug.

"The looming uncertainty of this crisis, and the huge amount of work that would have to be done now, makes it impossible to continue as scheduled," the festival announced on its website. "In addition to not being able to bring on nearly 100 seasonal workers, as well as previously announced cinema staff furloughs, we are placed in the untenable position of furloughing the majority of our staff."

If you've already purchased tickets to this year's event, SIFF has a request: Consider not seeking a refund and let the money you've spent act as a donation. Those who want to "consider other options," though, are invited to submit their request via this form or email boxoffice@siff.net.

Now the festival is left with the problem of how to recover.  "When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we won't be able to flip a switch and start back up with business as usual," reads the SIFF announcement. "We must pivot our current circumstances into an opportunity to innovate and reimagine a stronger, more sustainable and exciting future for SIFF and activate the philanthropic community to help us."

The hope? "The day will come when we gather again to share great films, community, and experiences."

It's certainly a nice thought. Since SIFF is one of the country's best attended film festivals, we'll have to console ourselves with that.

Below: The trailer for SIFF 2019.